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Five-minute breather with Julia Anderson

As the first female over the line in Run Townsville’s 12km distance last weekend in 49.23, we caught up with physiotherapist Julia Anderson to discuss her love of everything active – so much so that getting moving even played a part in her husband Ian’s marriage proposal. She’s now getting set for her next challenge – the Townsville Triathlon Festival.

My dad used to do this cycling video on his indoor trainer and the instructor would say, “It’s only a 4/10 on the pain scale, it could be much worse!” and I often think of that when I’m struggling”

What did you enjoy about Run Townsville? It was my first year doing this event and it was great to experience: Such a friendly atmosphere, a good course and lovely weather, while also fundraising for a great cause! [The second annual Run Townsville event saw 3,321 community members come together to raise $103,553 for Townsville Hospital Children’s Ward].

How are you moving at the moment? I enjoy doing a variety of activities and trying new things as often as possible. My usual daily activity is cycling to work and a run most mornings. I’ve recently started track cycling (thanks to TheGo for the opportunity with the Women in Cycling Series) and try to fit in kayaking and bushwalking on weekends.

What activity makes you the happiest and why? Tough question! Probably trail running in a beautiful forest. The quiet of the forest is so peaceful and I get a feeling of being completely free.


How did you discover it? I used to do a lot of orienteering so started running a lot of trails with orienteering friends. I still struggle to do a long run unless it’s off-road as I get bored too quickly on the concrete.

Have you always been active? Yes: I started with little athletics and then played every sport I could in high school. I did sport every day after school and usually at least three different things on weekends. I am very thankful that my parents were so supportive driving me from sport-to-sport in their free time.


Julia at Adventurethon Magnetic Island in March.

Are you a morning or afternoon mover? Definitely morning.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a weekend in Townsville? Run the Under the Radar trail at Pallarenda (starting very early to beat the mountain bikers!), and then a swim and breakfast at The Strand.

“Some of my best friendships have been made with sporting friends”

Your most motivating tune? Anything by The Prodigy or The Chemical Brothers.

Motivational quote? When I was a kid, my dad used to do this cycling video on his indoor trainer and the instructor would say, “It’s only a 4/10 on the pain scale, it could be much worse!” and I often think of that when I’m struggling.

How do you pep yourself up when you’re craving the couch? It’s always tough, but I try to remind myself that once I get going I know I will enjoy myself and feel much better afterwards. Also, I probably won’t achieve much on the couch.


Do you prefer to get active solo, or with a buddy? With a buddy is great to help motivate you and having someone to chat to always helps the time pass quickly! Some of my best friendships have been made with sporting friends.

Most annoying fitness fad? Walking with ankle weights. From a physio perspective it makes no sense to me and poses a huge injury risk. If you want to add intensity, walk faster or carry a backpack or hand weights.

“I was squatted on the side of the road with my jersey around my head just as an old couple drove around the corner…”

What’s your greatest fitness achievement? I ran a 1.21.50 at the Gold Coast Half Marathon many years ago. My training in the lead up to the race wasn’t ideal as I was doing long hours on prac at Uni and had to get up at 4.30am in the middle of winter [in Tasmania] to get a 45min run in. I didn’t finish a place or anything, but was really happy with the time.


At the summit of Mont Ventoux with husband Ian – known as one of the most gruelling climbs in the Tour de France.

Most memorable active moment? My partner Ian and I went for a cycle one day to a beach in Tassie and then he proposed!

What activity have you always wanted to try (and what’s holding you back)? Kite surfing is the latest thing. We need to find a day and organise to do it!

What’s something we don’t know about you? I hate choc orange, e.g. jaffas. Even the smell of choc orange makes me gag.

What’s your next goal? The Townsville Triathlon Festival – it looks like a great event.

What are you doing to get there? Probably not enough! I’m trying to do three quality sessions a week cycling or running. I am a terrible swimmer and don’t enjoy swimming laps, so haven’t done any swimming training. I’ll be bringing up the rear in the swim leg!

Most embarrassing moment on the go? I wore bibknicks to a cycling race, and then needed to wee before the race (rookie error). I was squatted on the side of the road with my jersey around my head just as an old couple drove around the corner. When I got back to the start area for the race I discovered there was a toilet there!

Who would you most like to train with (e.g. famous person, or someone you look up to)? Sally Pearson: She is an amazing athlete and I love watching her race.

The training advice I wish I’d listened to was… Missing one or two sessions isn’t the end of the world and probably won’t make any difference on race day anyway, so don’t stress about it.

Most treasured piece of fitness gear? My arm warmers: Although they don’t get a lot of use in Townsville, they were essential in Tassie (along with several other layers). I would wear them at work, running, cycling – just about everywhere!

My best local fitness tip is… Do hills! Townsville is so flat you have to go out of your way to find hills, but there are so many benefits from walking/running/cycling up and down hills.

Tell us a joke (why not?) What did the farmer say to the cow on the roof?
Get off the roof!

Last words? Having only moved to Townsville last year, I have found TheGo to be the best source of information for all sorts of events. I have discovered a lot of things through TheGo and am very impressed at the variety of events and opportunities to try new things. It’s a great initiative to encourage people to become more active. Thanks guys!
[Thanks Julia! P.S. No bribes, or chocolate jaffa exchanges, were entered into here ;)]


Here are some snaps from Run Townsville

Photography credit: Dianne Purnell, and some supplied.

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Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz is combining two of her great loves — writing and getting active. Previously working as a journalist, sub-editor, and editor in newspapers and magazines; she is editor and co-founder of TheGo Townsville. She stays active with the staples of road cycling and yoga, but has recently discovered triathlon. And become addicted (apart from the swimming part). She also has a Cert III in Fitness and is passionate about improving mental health through physical activity.

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